This is another article in the series on conspiracy theories.
Colorado’s recent gubernatorial race was entertaining on many levels, but a particularly hilarious component was the Great United Nations Takeover Bike Plot. This dire conspiracy theory was first outlined to a giggling public by Tea Party candidate Dan Maes in an effort to discredit Democrat John Hickenlooper, the eventual winner of the race and a big supporter of bike paths and bike-sharing in Colorado cities.
Competing strongly with fellow Tea Party candidates Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle for sheer entertainment, Maes told a Tea Party rally that Denver’s new bike-sharing program was a step toward “converting Denver into a United Nations community.” Maes, a first-time political candidate and surprise winner of the Republican primary, warned, “This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms.”
For those not familiar with the bike-sharing that threatens personal freedoms in Denver, it is a membership program that allows people to register, then pick up, use, and leave bikes at designated areas in the city. How this impacts on personal freedom (and what it has to do with the United Nations) remains somewhat mysterious…but wait till Mr. Maes learns about the latest dire threat now developing in Europe and soon to invade a city near you…electric car sharing!
Paris has already threatened the personal freedom of its citizens with a massive bike-sharing program. 20,000 bikes are available at 1,500 stations available around the city and nearby suburbs. Infrequent users can pay by credit card, while subscribers pay a yearly fee of €25 (~$33) to gain access to the bikes. But this electric-car caper takes the sinister U.N. Takeover Plot to a whole new level. The four-seat “Bluecars”—so called for their color—developed by Bolloré and Pininfarina, are to be positioned at 1,200 stations in metropolitan Paris and will be available around the clock starting in fall of 2011. Users must have a valid driver’s license and pay a subscription fee to borrow one of the vehicles.
Tourists will be able to use the service as long as they have a driver’s license recognized in France, meaning U.S. and European visitors should have no problem signing up. The service will employ around 800 people, and will be financed by a €60 million (~$80.2 million) investment by Bolloré. City and regional authorities will pay to build the docking stations at a cost of €50,000 (~$66,800) each. An annual subscription will cost €12 (~$16) per month, but daily and weekly options will also be available. A €250 (~$335) security deposit will also be required. The cars can be reserved in advance and returned to any station, similar to how Paris’ bike-sharing program works. A test phase of the program is scheduled for August and September, just before the official startup in October 2011.
A bike here, a Bluecar there…be afraid! That distant sound you hear is the United Nations, stealthily chipping away at your personal freedoms.